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Nwka Obze oral history interview

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Material Information

Title:
Nwka Obze oral history interview
Series Title:
Asaba Memorial oral history project
Uniform Title:
Holocaust & genocide studies oral history projects
Physical Description:
1 sound file (16 min.) : digital, MPEG4 file + ;
Language:
English
Igbo
Creator:
Obze, Nwka, 1923-
Bird, S. Elizabeth
Uraih, Ifeanyi
University of South Florida Libraries -- Holocaust & Genocide Studies Center
University of South Florida -- Library. -- Special & Digital Collections. -- Oral History Program
Publisher:
University of South Florida Tampa Library
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Fla
Publication Date:

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Massacres -- Nigeria   ( lcsh )
Crimes against humanity   ( lcsh )
Asaba (Nigeria)   ( lcsh )
History -- Nigeria -- Civil War, 1967-1970   ( lcsh )
History -- Personal narratives -- Nigeria -- Civil War, 1967-1970   ( lcsh )
Genre:
Oral history   ( local )
Online audio   ( local )
Oral history.   ( local )
Online audio.   ( local )
interview   ( marcgt )

Notes

Summary:
Oral history interview with Nwka Obze, a survivor of the Asaba Massacre, a mass killing of civilians which occurred in 1967 during the Nigerian Civil War. When the federal troops entered the city in October 1967, Obze's brother, who was one of the soldiers, warned her and her family that the troops were planning a massacre. Obze, her husband, and their children fled to Biafra and stayed there for about three weeks. When they returned, most of their other relatives had been killed. Obze was told by another woman that some people were even buried alive. There were relief groups who gave the survivors food and clothing and helped them rebuild their lives. Obze does not feel the need for a formal monument for the dead; she favors constructing a building for the town and dedicating it to their memory.
Performers:
Interpreter: Ifeanyi "Ify" Uraih.
Venue:
Interview conducted December 10, 2009.
Language:
Interview conducted in English and Igbo; transcript in English.
Statement of Responsibility:
interviewed by S. Elizabeth Bird.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 025702639
oclc - 690905296
usfldc doi - A34-00016
usfldc handle - a34.16
System ID:
SFS0021969:00001


This item is only available as the following downloads:


Full Text
xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8 transcript
segment
idx 0
time 00:00:0.6
text Nwka Obze: Nwka, Nwka.
1
00:00:1.6
Ify Uraih: Okay, [s]he said his [her] name is Nwka.
2
00:00:3.9
Elizabeth Bird: Nwka?
3
00:00:4.8
NO: Nwka, Nwka.
4
00:00:6.3
EB: How do you spell that?
5
00:00:7.9
IU: Nwka, they want the spelling?
6
00:00:8.7
NO: Nwka.
7
00:00:10.1
EB: Just one name?  Two name?  First name?  First name.
8
00:00:13.2
IU: Nwka Obze.
9
00:00:14.1
NO: Obze.
10
00:00:15.1
EB: Nwka Obze.  Nwka Obze.  Uh-huh.  Thank you.  Um, could you tell us how old you are?
11
00:00:28.8
IU: Eighty-six.
12
00:00:30.1
EB: Eighty-six.
13
00:00:30.8
IU: Eighty-six.
14
00:00:31.5
EB: Eighty-six, yes, thank you.  Could you talk about what happened beforejust before the troops came in the war?  Just, what was it like
15
00:00:43.6
IU: (Speaking in Igbo)
16
00:00:51.1
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
17
00:01:1.3
IU: She said its
18
00:01:2.2
Unidentified Voice: (Speaking in Igbo)
19
00:01:4.1
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
20
00:01:5.3
Unidentified Voices: (Speaking in Igbo)
21
00:01:9.7
IU: Shes trying to explain the sentiment.  Mama said that Asaba was very peaceful then.  That is this love that we share within me.
22
00:01:18.8
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:01:20.9
IU: There is a good relationship between the
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00:01:23.1
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:01:26.8
EB: At that time, was she living with her family?  She waswas she married with children?
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00:01:33.4
IU: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:01:37.2
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:01:38.6
IU: Okay.  She says she was not married then, that she was at a new school
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00:01:41.2
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
30
00:01:44.7
IU: (Speaking in Igbo)
31
00:01:45.9
IU: She says she was married.
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00:01:47.1
EB: She was married?
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00:01:47.8
IU: Yes.
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00:01:48.4
EB: Did she have children?
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00:01:49.3
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
36
00:01:50.7
IU: Okay.  She had
37
00:01:57.6
IU: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:02:1.2
NO: (Speaking in Igbo) Eleven.
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00:02:15.9
EB: Could she talk about what happened when the federal troops started arriving into Asaba, what people thought?
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00:02:21.7
IU: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:02:25.2
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:02:47.9
IU: She was saying that when they came, they were cooking at one of the technical colleges we have there, you know?  But one of the husbands brothers came from Benin to inform them
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00:02:58.6
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:02:59.9
IU: She said hes a soldier.  So he came to inform them the motive of the federal troops, that they came in to kill, not for them to celebrate with them.
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00:03:9.1
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:03:29.1
IU: [S]he said when they came in, they shot a gun.
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00:03:33.2
EB: They shot a girl?
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00:03:33.8
IU: A gun.  So they said it was the people from the war, that they have come into Asaba.  So they were rushing to entertain themgiving them water, you know, welcoming them to the town.
49
00:03:44.7
EB: Yes, yes.
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00:03:46.4
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:04:6.1
IU: [S]he said that during that time, the brother who was a soldier came and told them that what they are doing is wrong, that these people have come to kill them.  So giving them food and waterat the end they will still kill them.  So that you all come out from (inaudible).
52
00:04:22.0
EB: This was her brother?
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00:04:23.9
IU: Yeah.
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00:04:24.5
EB: Who was in the federal army?
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00:04:26.8
IU: Her brother was in the federal troop, he was a soldier.  So he came to inform them the aim of why they came.  So because of him, they have to flee away from
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00:04:35.8
EB: So this soldier knew that the plan was to
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00:04:35.8
IU: Yes
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00:04:38.4
EB: To kill.
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00:04:38.9
IU: To come in and kill.
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00:04:40.1
EB: Yeah.
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00:04:41.0
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:05:7.9
EB: So this iswhat happened next?
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00:05:10.2
IU: Okay.  (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:05:13.1
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
65
00:05:32.8
EB: She and her whole family?
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00:05:33.9
IU: She and her whole family, yes.
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00:05:36.8
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
68
00:05:54.4
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
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00:06:38.6
IU: Im behind the microphone.  So [s]he said that from Atani, the soldiers even came across to Atani.  They themselves had to run away from Atani to Oko, to go and stay.
70
00:06:49.3
EB: So how far from Asaba were they staying?
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00:06:51.7
IU: Okay, Atani is about thirty kilometers away from Asaba.  It is not too far from here.
72
00:06:57.2
EB: And there were soldiers there, too?
73
00:06:58.0
IU: Yeah.
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00:06:59.6
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
75
00:07:7.6
IU: (Speaking in Igbo)
76
00:07:8.7
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
77
00:07:24.7
IU: [S]he said that when they came back, after the incidents, the mother, who was in town, told them that they have killed all their relations.  Some of them were even buried alive, not even killed.  Yes.  So that was what happened.
78
00:07:39.9
EB: So, she came backwhen did she come back to the town?
79
00:07:45.0
IU: (Speaking in Igbo)
80
00:07:48.8
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
81
00:07:52.3
IU: (Speaking in Igbo)
82
00:07:59.1
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
83
00:08:0.9
IU: Okay.  She says she came back
84
00:08:2.5
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
85
00:08:3.2
IU: after three weeks.  And that was when she came back.
86
00:08:6.0
EB: So everybody was buried by then?
87
00:08:7.7
IU: Yeah, virtually all those they killed.  There are some who were buried alive.  But the town was virtually empty; they couldnt meet anybody in the town.
88
00:08:17.5
EB: What did shewhat did people tell her about what happened with the killings?
89
00:08:23.2
IU: The killings.  Okay.  (Speaking in Igbo)
90
00:08:31.9
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
91
00:08:42.0
IU: [S]he said the mother who witnessed what went within that period explained to her that some of them were buried alive.  Some were killed.  And there is a particular area [s]he mentioned where those who were buried alive were buried alive, without shooting them.
92
00:08:58.9
EB: They didnt shoot them at all, they just
93
00:08:59.9
IU: No, they just dig grave and ask them to jump into the grave, and they covered them and they died inside it.
94
00:09:6.6
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
95
00:09:25.8
IU: She said there were about three women she came back with, you know, tomaybe to take their family away from the town.  So, they were told the incidents of how the whole thing happened.
96
00:09:38.9
EB: Does she knowwas it justwas it only men and boys, or were some women killed, too?
97
00:09:45.1
IU: (Speaking in Igbo)
98
00:09:51.0
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
99
00:09:52.8
IU: She said that what she knows is what she has just narrated.  That she cannot actually say some women were killed, or children were killed.
100
00:10:0.9
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
101
00:10:4.8
IU: She said during the war, you dont know where the children are.  So everybody was just trying to have a shelter over his head, so most people ran into the bush.
102
00:10:16.2
EB: So the people who, they say, were buried alive, did she talk to someone who saw that happen?
103
00:10:22.5
IU: Okay.  (Speaking in Igbo)
104
00:10:27.3
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
105
00:10:30.3
IU: [S]he said it was after the war.  They now came back and identified the area where they were buried.  The people took them to show them the areas they werepeople were buried alive.  They point to the grave together.
106
00:10:42.7
EB: They had seen them being buried alive?
107
00:10:44.1
IU: No.  They said
108
00:10:45.0
EB: No
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00:10:45.5
IU: They didnt say that, but it was the mother.
110
00:10:47.5
EB: I see.
111
00:10:48.4
IU:  But she is not alive today.
112
00:10:50.4
EB: How didwe heard stories about how women and young girls were also assaulted by the troops.  Does she know about that?
113
00:11:0.2
IU: (Speaking in Igbo)
114
00:11:7.9
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
115
00:11:14.9
IU: She said so many of the women were assaulted, so many.  Yes, both the young ones and the elderly ones.
116
00:11:24.9
EB: When she came back after the war, how did she start to rebuild her life?
117
00:11:30.6
IU: (Speaking in Igbo)
118
00:11:30.6
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
119
00:11:44.2
IU: She said they have these relief group who were feeding them, giving them food items, clothes, to live on.  So that was how they started rehabilitating gradually.  Yeah.
120
00:11:56.7
EB: Can she talk a little bit about the impact, particularly on women, of everything that happened, losing all the men, and
121
00:12:5.4
IU: Okay.  (Speaking in Igbo)
122
00:12:11.8
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
123
00:12:20.6
IU: She said there were so much, so bad, and there were all these stories.  But, well, life has to go on.  So, they have to pick up from where they saw, and they were able to meet up once again.
124
00:12:35.5
EB: Did many of her close relativesher family went with her to the bush.  Did she have other close relatives who died?
125
00:12:43.2
IU: (Speaking in Igbo)
126
00:12:51.3
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
127
00:12:53.5
IU: She said there were so many that they cannot count.  You know, so many of the familys relations were affected.
128
00:12:59.1
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
129
00:13:2.1
EB: How does she feeldoes she still feeldoes she feel angry, or bitter, or has she forgiven?  How does she feel?
130
00:13:8.2
IU: (Speaking in Igbo)
131
00:13:16.6
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
132
00:13:21.5
IU: She said, well, that there is no way she can forget about it, but life has to go on.  So that is it.
133
00:13:28.4
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
134
00:13:30.5
EB: What does she think about the need to do a memorial or a monument?  Does she think its important to have a memory, a formal memory?
135
00:13:38.3
IU: (Speaking in Igbo)
136
00:13:50.3
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
137
00:13:56.6
IU: For her, as a person, that she would not feel happy having something in remembrance of what has happened.
138
00:14:2.9
EB: She doesnt?
139
00:14:3.7
IU: No.  She says she is not happyshe would not be happy about it, because it will be recalling the past events.
140
00:14:11.9
EB: So, she thinks we should leave it
141
00:14:13.6
IU: Yeah.  For her, she said she wouldnt want such a thing.  It is just a reminder of the past.
142
00:14:23.2
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
143
00:14:25.5
Unidentified Voices: (Speaking in Igbo)
144
00:14:30.5
IU: (Speaking in Igbo)
145
00:14:31.4
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
146
00:14:32.0
IU: (Speaking in Igbo)
147
00:14:32.6
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
148
00:14:33.2
IU: (Speaking in Igbo)
149
00:14:34.4
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
150
00:14:35.7
EB: Is there anything else she would like to tell us about?
151
00:14:38.9
IU: Okay.  (Speaking in Igbo)
152
00:14:44.7
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
153
00:14:50.2
IU: [S]he said that whatever you people feel you can doyou know, for the townit would be better, that that is the only thing she feels she can say.  Whatever you people feel you can do to the town, that they will appreciate it.
154
00:15:6.6
EB: What would she like us to do?
155
00:15:8.3
IU: (Speaking in Igbo)
156
00:15:11.6
NO: (Speaking in Igbo)
157
00:15:19.2
IU: She is talking of a kind of compensation to the families involved, you know?  Or even a building in memory to
158
00:15:27.8
EB: A building?
159
00:15:28.3
IU: Yes, that is what she is suggesting.
160
00:15:32.8
EB: Thank you very much.  Thank you.



PAGE 1

COPYRIGHT NOTICE This Oral History is copyrighted by the University of South Florida Libraries Oral History Program on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of South Florida. Copyright, 20 1 0 University of South Florida. All rights, reserved This oral history may be used for research, instruction, and private study under the provisions of the Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of the United States Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section 107), which allows limited use of copyrig hted materials under certain conditions. Fair Use limits the amount of material that may be used. For all other permissions and requests, contact the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA LIBRARIES ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at the University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fo wler Avenue, LIB 122, Tampa, FL 33620.


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Obze, Nwka,
1923-
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Nwka Obze oral history interview
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interviewed by S. Elizabeth Bird.
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Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida Tampa Library,
2009.
300
1 sound file (16 min.) :
digital, MPEG4 file +
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490
Asaba Memorial oral history project
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Interpreter: Ifeanyi "Ify" Uraih.
518
Interview conducted December 10, 2009.
FTS
546
Interview conducted in English and Igbo; transcript in English.
520
Oral history interview with Nwka Obze, a survivor of the Asaba Massacre, a mass killing of civilians which occurred in 1967 during the Nigerian Civil War. When the federal troops entered the city in October 1967, Obze's brother, who was one of the soldiers, warned her and her family that the troops were planning a massacre. Obze, her husband, and their children fled to Biafra and stayed there for about three weeks. When they returned, most of their other relatives had been killed. Obze was told by another woman that some people were even buried alive. There were relief groups who gave the survivors food and clothing and helped them rebuild their lives. Obze does not feel the need for a formal monument for the dead; she favors constructing a building for the town and dedicating it to their memory.
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Bird, S. Elizabeth.
Uraih, Ifeanyi.
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University of South Florida Libraries.
Holocaust & Genocide Studies Center.
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Holocaust & genocide studies oral history projects.
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Asaba Memorial oral history project.
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